Wednesday, July 29, 2009

# 283: Can We Lose Our Salvation?

I was discussing spiritual matters with a friend of mine--a very intelligent man--and I was shocked when he mentioned, “A person cannot lose his/her Salvation.” I asked him if he was a Baptist. I found out that he goes to an independent church in California.

I asked him if that belief comes from the New Testament (NT). He could not give me any verses to substantiate that belief. Then he asked me to give him the verses that prove a person can lose his/her Salvation. I told him there are dozens of such verses in the NT. I thought this subject would be of interest to many who are Christians, including those who subscribe to the blog. So as I write to him, I am also writing to many bloggers.

To start with the basics in the Christian life: first we believe/have faith in Jesus Christ for what He has done for us, and we believe that what He teaches is truth. Then comes love for God the father, and love for His son Jesus Christ, and love for those in either spiritual of physical need. The next step, which is a stumbling block to many and is the most difficult to practice: obedience to all that He commands us to do or not to do.

In order to understand what the above paragraph’s teachings are, an accurate knowledge is needed of what is taught and not taught in the New Testament. It is utterly impossible to follow Christ’s teachings without that knowledge. That is where a vast majority of Christians fall short. They may think they know what the New Testament contains because of what many of those behind their pulpits have been teaching or not teaching for years.

I will now let the New Testament speak for itself, with only a few comments from the peanut gallery as to the erroneous belief that “Christians cannot lose their Salvation.” By the way, my friend did say that apostates are not included in the group he defined as unable to lose their Salvation. (By the way, the NT and I disagree.) An apostate is one who is guilty of apostasy. According to Webster’s Dictionary, the meaning of apostasy is an abandoning of what one has believed in, as a faith, cause or principles. That means Christian apostates once believed and were saved, and as they turned their back on what they once believed, their Salvation was lost, or forfeited.

This is one verse—and there may be others that I am not aware of--that allows some denominations to believe they cannot lose their salvation. Romans 8:38. “For I am convinced neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any power, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

And still there is one condition not mentioned in the above verse, which is that we still have a free will, which cannot be taken from us. And when we use that will to continually do things that are not pleasing to the Holy Spirit that indwells us, that may be grounds for a separation. Let’s let the NT speak for itself.

John 14:21. “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.”

John 15:24. “He who does not love me will not obey my teaching.”

1st Corinthians 16:22. “If anyone does not love the Lord--a curse be on him. Come, O Lord!

John 15:4-5. “Remain in me, and I will remain in you . . . If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” All Christians have a choice to remain in Christ. Of course, without obedience to His commands, people will unknowingly sever their connection with Jesus Christ. It is absolutely imperative to know and obey all New Testament commands. No excuses!

John 15:10. “If you obey my commands you will remain in my love.”

John 15:14. “ You are my friends if you do what I command.”

John 15:16. “You did not choose me, but I chose you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last.” When Jesus mentions the words “bear fruit,” He means to obey all His commands. Obedience to His commands and bearing fruit are synonymous.

Matthew 28:19. “ Therefore go and make disciples of all nations . . . and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

Colossians 1:22-23. “. . . to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation--if you continue in your faith, established and firm . . . .” To continue in one’s faith means to continue to be obedient to New Testament commands. No one is going to heaven without obedience, and that is exactly what a majority of preachers don’t like to dwell on since it is not a favorite topic with most atheistic Christians. An atheist is not only one who doesn’t believe in God but also one who doesn’t obey God. They are both in the same boat.

1st Corinthians 15:2. “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.” The only way we can hold firmly is to continue to obey the New Testament and not what the slick-talking preachers teach. They purposely ignore the difficult verses. They don’t what to lose anyone as members of their church because their preaching seems unreasonable to implement.

John 14:7-8: “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given to you. This is to my Father’s glory that you bear much fruit, SHOWING YOURSELVES TO BE MY DISCIPLES.” [emphasis added] Therefore, the main--if not the only--evidence that we belong to Christ and that our salvation is secure is the bearing of much fruit.

Then, to know what kind of fruit we must bear, we have to turn to the NT to learn what is expected of every person who calls him/herself a Christian. That means we must read, study and memorize all that is expected of us. This blog will be a good companion to the NT.

Galatians 6:9. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Ephesians 2:2. “. . . the ruler of the kingdom of the air, [the devil] the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.” Some Christians in the past had honestly accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (salvation) and for whatever reason are now disobedient or disregarding Holy Scripture. This is clear evidence that the evil one is at work in their lives. No verses are more descriptive when we knowingly or unknowingly ignore Biblical commands.

Colossians 1:12. “. . . giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you/us to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.”

Colossians 2:18. “Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize.” That prize is, as the above verse states, a share in the kingdom of light (heaven).

These two verses teach that it is God who qualifies us for salvation, and by our actions we can be disqualified. God can make us and/or break us, according to how we live. The way we live tells God if we have faith, love and obedience.

1st John 1:24: “See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father.”

1st John 3:24. “Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them.” It is critical to know and obey the commands that promote love for God and neighbor. Those commands are found in the NT.

1st John 2:15-17. “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the father is not in him. For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the [silent] boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” (emphasis added). These verses tell it all. We are so hooked on the things and pleasures of the world that it would be almost impossible for many of us to break clean of the enjoyment and entertainment our enticing world offers.

You see, when many people first accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and thus have Salvation, it is great. But when some learn of the restrictions Scripture places on worldly activities, they may think again and somehow innocently incorporate worldly activities into their Christian life. At that point, their Christianity is tainted with sin, and thus unknowingly, they have forfeited what they previously had: Salvation.

This large number of verses with a few more to come is getting a bit repetitive. This goes to show how important this topic is. But I must continue with just a few more.

John 8:31. “If you hold to my teachings, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” The only way we can hold on to Christ’s teachings is first to know what they are and then to obey them. And don’t think you can learn what they are by proxy through a preacher; you have to go straight to God and dig into His Word yourself. This may not sound very interesting, but this way you will be sure no one is pulling the wool over your eyes.

Listen to this one: 2nd Peter 1:10. “Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election SURE. For if you do these things, you will never fail.” The things Peter is talking about start in verse five of this chapter. [Emphasis added].

Hebrews 6:11. “We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure.”

James 4:4. “Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” If anyone chooses to be a friend of the world after their initial conversion, their salvation goes out the window. No one can be an enemy of God and still have His Salvation.

Do you desire what is detestable to God? This is a tough one. Luke 16:15. “What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.” Jesus is talking about money, as that paragraph indicates. Ouch!

If you don’t think obedience is of great importance, listen to this one: Hebrews 5:9. “. . . he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.”

The word “overcome” is used several times in the book of Revelation and about a dozen times throughout the NT. “Overcome” in Biblical terms means to overcome all the cynical powers and persuasive schemes of the evil one, Satan the devil. To verify the meaning of “overcome”, check 1st John 2:13-14.

Revelation 2:7. “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.”

Revelation 2:11: “He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.”

Revelation 2:17: “To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations.”

. Revelation 3:5. “He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never erase his name from the book of life.” This verse implies that those whose names will be erased from the book of life are those who will lose their Salvation.

Revelation 3:12. “Him who overcomes, I will make a pillar in the temple of my God.”

Revelation 3:21. “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne . . .”

There are at least three apostates mentioned who were disciples with the apostle Paul and then willfully left the faith. Let me bring them to your attention:

2nd Timothy 4:9. “Do your best to come to me quickly, for Demas, because he loved this world, has left me and has gone to Thessalonica.”

Colossians 4:14: “Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings.”

2nd Timothy 1:15. “You know that everyone in the providence of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes.”

There are a dozen or more verses that repeat many of the same truths, but enough is enough.

In conclusion, with all this Biblical evidence, even one who is not very smart can come to the conclusion that Salvation is conditional. But to make positive corrections in the lifestyles of many will be the difficult part. My unanswered question is how such a large number of churches could teach the opposite of all the above-mentioned verses, and get millions to believe this utter fabrication? I would guess because the Christian lifestyle the clergy have propagated for years is easy. It is not easy to live a life of selfless love, and that is what genuine Christianity is all about. Your comments will be appreciated. jc


dino said...

i do believe that one can lose their salvation. I was once a Christian and have since fallen away. There are times when I hate to even hear the things of GOD because of what I have givin up. I dont even know if repentence is possible anymore. Anyone who believes that they cannot lose their salvation are fools.

JC said...

Dear loved-one,

It is never too late to repent of all the foolish mistakes we all at sometime have made. Make sure your repentance is real, displayed by Godly action. If you slip, quickly acknowledge it and go on from there. God has mercy to all who are for-real. Dino, I will pray for you that your repentance is solid. But remember, it is not easy to be a genuine Christian.

With God's love and grace. jc

Anonymous said...

If you can, indeed, lose your salvation, then this is fatal to each and every Christian, even the true ones. According to you, we lose our salvation each time we sin, each time we slip, but we can repent each time. That's too much static! Even the disciples themselves sinned, at least accidentally, but nowhere did the Bible say they lost their salvation, even if it was briefly. The minute the Lord comes and we happened to slip at the same time and he came before we were able to repent, oops - we're going to hell. That's Russian Roulette, at best. I think we need more security than this. You offer none. Jesus himself said that even the true Christians cannot be perfect - meaning they WILL sin, and yet he still called them true Christians. Hmm... I wonder why, since you say even those people could lose their salvation.

JC said...

Dear anonymous, thanks for your comment. Show me from Scripture a verse or two saying that one cannot lose their salvation, and I will reconsider how I believe.
I know many people who believe as you; the reason they believe that way is to condone their lives of Godlessness and sin.
If I am mistaken,I will challenge you to start reading the New Testament every day and obey what it commands, and you will quickly find out that no one has an ironclad hold on Gods Salvation. jc

Anonymous said...

I searched this site for any clue as to your identity but found nothing but jc. Then it hit me! You are so incredibly holy and blameless (in your opinion, otherwise you couldn't teach this nonsense)that you do not need a Savior.Thus under the illusion that satan holds you, your spotless perception of yourself has apparently convinced you that you are jc (Jesus Christ).

JC said...

Dear anonymous,
Thanks for your negative comment. This post is written for people like you. You gave yourself away when you call this blog nonsence.
If you had even a scant knowledge of what the New Testament teaches, you would realize this blog tells what triditional churches don't dear teach.
As to my holiness, it was given to me by my Savior, because I believe and make a great effort to live as He commands. As you say, my spotless perception is a lie. I know my weaknesses and with God's help they are being conquered day by day.

Romans5:10 said...

"24but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25Therefore he is able to save forever those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
26Such a high priest meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. 27Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself." - Hebrews 7:24-27

"13And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of his glory." - Eph.1:13-14

"28I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all[a]; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. 30I and the Father are one." - John 10:28-30

"23May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it." - 1Thes.5:23-24

"11And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 12That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day." - 2Tim.1:11-12

38 They will be my people, and I will be their God. 39 I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children after them. 40 I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me" - Jeremiah 32:38-40

"19They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us." - 1John 2:19

JC said...

Dear Romans 5:10, Thanks for your well thoughout comment. They all are wonderful verses, and we thank God for them. There are two things that make those verses noneffective: our free will cannot be taken away from us. We can choose to continually disobey what God commands us to do and not to do. End of our Salvation , although, we my still believe we are saved. If you know your Bible, there are dozens of verses that teach that our Salvation is contingent on our obedience. Repeating, God cannot stop us from disobeying by taking our freewill away. If God was able to do that we would be nothing more than worthless puppets.

Romans5:10 said...

3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it! - 2Corinthians 11:3-4

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. - Ephesians 2:8-10

See Titus 3:8-11 & Titus 2:11-14

6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. - Galatians 1:6-7

See Galatians 2:16-21

1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? 2 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh (human effort)? 4 Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?
5 Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?— 6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.
10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” 11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” 12 Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.”
13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. - Gal.3:1-14

See also Gal.4:1-7 & Gal.5, particularly v1-18

JC said...

Dear anonymous,
Thanks for your interest in what this blog teaches. And thanks for presenting some very important verses.
Only one thing, all those verses and a dozen or two more that are similiar does not even imply that a person cannot lose their. Salvation.

End of discussion. jc

Anonymous said...

Thoughtful and challenging.

Anonymous said...

Please itemize each command of Jesus so I can get started.

JC said...

Dear Anonymous,
Please read that post again. It is self descriptive. And then, you may have to read it again. There is nothing more to say.

I pray that God will bless you once you understand what He expects of from all His true children. jc